Posted April 24th, 2017, 09:02 AM
We just returned from our American Cruise line Historic South Golden Isle one week vacation. We have mixed reviews of the trip.
A quick overview of the ship itself. We cruised aboard the Independence. We had a lower level room 114 with large opening window. The room is quite spacious with plenty of room to unpack and get comfortable. The bathroom is large compared to any other cruise we have taken. There is also lots of storage. The shower has great water pressure. We felt the decor is somewhat dated and could use a freshening up. I had read that comment a few times before our departure and now whole heartedly agree. Having been on A few European cruises with Viking and there is no comparison in luxury. Traveling with an American crew can not be compared. They were fun, happy and attentive but lacked the professional European flair.
We flew into Charleston and stayed at the Holiday Inn Riverview. We enjoyed this hotel very much. There was a free shuttle bus into town and the driver was quite knowledgeable. There is a decent restaurant on the top floor with a gorgeous view of the harbor. We took a cab to the cruise ship for 5$ each. While in Charleston we took a carriage tour and were a bit disappointed as the routes are randomly chosen for you and we missed highlights we had hoped to see. We then hired a pedicab to take us about to see a few of them. They charged 5.50 every ten minutes but a delightful way to see the city up close. We had a wonderful lunch at Hymans seafood restaurant. Oh my is was delicious. Be warned the line to get in can be very long but we felt worth it.
Beaufort. We took a bus tour with American cruise lines. This was a wonderful tour. One of our very favorites. The guide was such a delight, she was an amazing storyteller. Every tour we took left at approx. 9 am with a return to the ship in time for 12:30 lunch.
Hilton Head. I loved this beautiful resort location. We rented bikes on our own and rode all around the area exploring. The bike paths are easy to navigate and wide. We went to the beach, a golf resort, Heritage farms, and out to the lighthouse. On our return to town we had a lovely lunch at the Crazy Crab. Very good. There were quite few shops right by the harbor.
Savannah. Our excursion was a trolley tour and we relay enjoyed it. It gave you the ability to hop on and off after our lunch back at the ship. We went back to the market area for a few souvenirs. The ship was docked at a great location for strolling the Riverview with restaurants and shopping
Sapelo island. We felt this was a wasted stop. The ship anchored with nothing in sight except the small dock to tender over to. The only excursion offered was a school bus tour of the area followed by an oyster roast. No one in our group took the tour so I can not give any feedback on it. We took the time to just relax top deck and read.
Jekyll Island. The excursion was a tour of the turtle rescue followed by a tram ride narrative tour of Jekyll Island. We thought the two excursions could have been offered separately and charged a lesser fee. We were not interested in the turtle rescue but found the Jekyll island tour fascinating.
Amelia Island. We had to tender into town and spent the day strolling around sightseeing with a bit of shopping. A quaint pretty yet touristy area.
The food was excellent and some of the best I've had on a cruise. The chef came out and visited every table to ensure satisfaction.
About half way through the the cruise about a dozen or more people got very sick. With vomiting and diarrhea. My husband being one of them. The crew were busy bleaching everything and putting out hand sanitizer. It was evident at dinner with all the empty seats how many passengers it effected. Luckily it only lasted about 24-36 and didn't run the course of the entire trip.
All in all we had a lovely vacation and loved touring the historical south. My honest opinion of the cruise is it is overpriced for experience. I guess we like the European professionalism and flair. It is just a matter of opinion. We will stick to Viking in the future.
Sent from my iPad using Forums